1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. What are the consequences of …


What are the consequences of ignoring French accent marks?

Yooo, (pronounced long O sound), I am going along, ignoring some language street signs...all those accent marks , and what not.(.well the "a" and "ca" can't be easily ignored, but I'm trying). partially because it just slows me down...and I didn't install a French keyboard (like I had to do with Russian). I want to hear some opinions about this, because I am a little concerned that I am getting a "free lunch". Am I?

Follow up question: Does it REALLY help you remember the pronounciations?

Second related question: Do you have a french keyboard?

September 10, 2017



you need to know accents. if you don't, you'll be saying completely different words. for example, là and la. I can't remember exactly what là means, but i'm pretty sure it means "there" or something like it. La on the other hand, means the. if you don't know accents then a) you won't be able to read French b) you won't be able to understand it and c) you won't be understood.

as for a French keyboard, http://french.typeit.org/


Yes (and 'là' indeed means 'there').

In many cases, the lack of accent marks will be very confusing. Ex: aime (love/loves), aimé (loved). They are needed for pronunciation, of course, and the cedilla too. Ex: 'ça' is pronounced like 'sa', and 'ca' is pronounced like 'ka'. French is written with accent marks, so you have to use them.

I am learning Turkish, there are words like görüşürüz and yakışıklısın, and I always type the accent marks and special letters. They are mandatory in Turkish (the pronunciation would be totally different without them), like they are mandatory in French.

About the consequences: without accent marks, your answers will be considered as 'almost correct' by Duolingo, and your skills will not stay gold for too long.


Yes, you need to know the accents. CaptainDuo brought up la vs. , but let me also submit a "has" vs. à "to/at", du "of the" vs. "had to", ou "or" vs. "where", mur "wall" vs. mûr "ripe", etc.

Plus, the accents don't exist for no reason; often they change the pronunciation noticeably - a French speaker easily recognizes the difference between e and é and è/ê, and even an English speaker can tell the difference between ca and ça, which sound like "ka" and "sa" respectively. (Sorry... /ka/ and /sa/. Same characters ad the IPA :P)

And just jenerelee yoo shud lern the korekt speling uv the lengwij yor lerning so that yoo dont sownd laik this.

(Also, YES, all the keyboards on typeit.org are VERY good. I use it all the time for French and Hungarian both.)


If you fully understand the accent marks and the way they - ok, subtly - change a sound (é vs è for example), you will realise that it really does help you when you come across a new word to figure out how to pronounce it.

As for the cedilla in 'ça', it changes the word from being pronounced 'ka' to 'sa', and these are very different-sounding. Even though reading 'ca' would be understood of course.

I don't have a French keyboard though so I do understand how tiring it can be to have to find and select the correct accents. But it's worth it.

I was always told that é is considered a different letter to e - don't know if that's true(!) but clearly it means you can't forget about the accents. Missing an accent out a couple of times for speed purposes is ok, but to regularly miss it out is to be spelling the word a little wrong.


I have to give the counter view. Leaving off the accent is equivalent to mis-spelling a word. I can comfortably read, speak and hear English words that I misspell all the time. Of course your writing will suffer.


I use the US International keyboard for French. It still has a QWERTY layout and all that is required is one extra keystroke for accents ç é è à ô etc
For example to type ...
Accent grave (à, è, etc), type ` (to the left of 1) then the vowel.
Accent aigu (é), type ' (single quote) then e.
Cédille (ç), type ' then c.
Circonflexe (ê), type ^ (shift + 6) then e.
Tréma (ö), type " (shift + ') then o.
Unfortuately œ cannot be typed simply on the Int keyboard so you have to resort to ALT + 0140 for Œ and ALT + 0156 for œ.

I should add that using the US international k.brd, you need to add a space between ' and e if, for example, you want to type « c'est ». To type French quotation marks « » use CTRL + ALT + [ and ], respectively.


I have a keyboard that includes the cedilla (ça) and also I just hold a key and it appears options related with the letter that I hold.


Microsoft keyboard has some accent marks built in; for example, holding down the alt key with left hand, then on number pad, type 0232, (alt 0232) and the letter è pops up. The is a short list of the most common diacritical markings. (proper name) alt 0233 gives é and so on. You cannot learn to pronounce words correctly without them. Yes, you will know that "accent aigu" means to say ay for é. You do not need a French keyboard. I can send you what I have if you like.


I don't have either a French keyboard, nor a Spanish keyboard. However, keyboard shortcuts for accents are easy enough and don't take all that long once you get used to them. In any case, slowing down a bit is not a bad thing. And I agree with everyone else. Yes, it makes a meaning to not only pronunciation but meaning as well.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.